Tasty Two-Stroke: 1985 Yamaha RZ350 for Sale
I’ve only recently become an acolyte in the Church of Smokers. Growing up, I mostly heard them in the context of dirt bikes ripping up and down our street, and the angry, mechanical-insect noise isn’t really the sexiest… But I’ve opened my mind to the antisocial little things, and this bike might make a great introduction to two-stroke ownership.
Sold between 1984 and 1985 in the US, the Yamaha RZ350 was powered by a liquid-cooled, two-stroke parallel-twin that displaced 347cc’s. This long-serving powerplant was introduced in 1983, with variants finding home in select Yamahas until 2006.
Evolved from the RD350, the RZ added liquid-cooling and Yamaha’s torque-enhancing power-valve technology dubbed, originally enough, “YPVS.” Can you guess what that stands for? This computer-controlled system helped to smooth out the traditionally peaky power delivery of the two-stroke, plumping the mid-range for improved street usability.
A terror on back roads of the time, the RZ350 was literally one of the best-handling bikes you could buy at any price. Remember, this was before the GSX-R750 was introduced, and while many bikes made more power, they were usually correspondingly heavy and unwieldy: the RZ was light and nimble, with a powerband that needed chasing and a gearbox that rewarded the rider for doing so, a real enthusiast’s motorcycle.
From the original eBay listing: 1985 Yamaha RZ350 for Sale
Fresh Paint about 5 years ago
Frame was powder coated
Couple of chips in front fender and a couple of nicks in stickers but otherwise paint is sparkling. Looks like a new bike!
DG – Pipes
K&N Air filter
Aluminum battery box
In the family since 1990
Bidding is active and there are just a couple days left on the auction, with the Reserve Not Met at $3,900. These can really run the gamut in terms of quality and state of tune. This one is largely stock and has been repainted, but ridden, which is as it should be.
The RZ is the epitome of a “useable classic:” these are fun to ride, with plenty of power. They’re striking to look at with a strong community of experts and amateurs to help you keep your little bumblebee buzzing. Parts availability is excellent and includes a wide range of updated parts, owing to the long production run of these two-strokes into the modern era, with many parts easily retrofitted to improve reliability and performance.